SUGAR: 9 Common Questions and Myths Explained
Have you ever taken a bite from a cake or cookie or a sip from a drink and you hear a voice in your head screaming “Sugar”?
Does it ever leave you wondering how you may have exposed yourself to jedi-jedi, back pain or menstrual pain?
We eat sugar on a daily basis in fruits, milk, staple foods and drinks. It is a source of energy for the body.
There are lots of myths and unanswered questions about sugar circulating everywhere.
Is sugar bad? Does it cause Pile? These and more will be answered scientifically in this article.
First, what is sugar?
Sugar is a sweet tasting substance made, not only, from sugarcane plants.
They are soluble carbohydrates with biological molecules consisting of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon atoms.
What are the forms of sugar?
Based on chemical structure, sugar is classified into Simple and Complex sugar.
The simple sugar contains 1-2 sugar molecules while complex sugar contains 3 or more sugar molecules.
The most common form of simple sugar are;
- Glucose (simplest form)
- Fructose (found naturally in fruits)
- Sucrose (table sugar)
- Lactose (found naturally in milk)
Due to its deliciousness, sugar is believed to be bad for our health, but is it?
Read on to find out answers to the myths and questions regarding sugar.
#1. Is sugar bad for the body?
To say a substance is bad for consumption means it can cause irreparable damage to organs in the body.
Sugar is an important nutrient from which the body receives energy to perform. Cutting it off your diet will do you more harm than good.
#2. Is diabetes caused by sugar?
There is an established fact that eating or drinking edibles high in sugar consistently increases your chances of becoming overweight and obese which puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes.
But, there is no direct link between sugar and diabetes.
#3. Does sugar make kids hyperactive?
Movies and TV shows portray this myth but it is not true.
Children are equally as excited or happy as when you offer them treats and buy them new toys.
Parents may find it hard to believe but there is no scientific evidence that sugar makes children super active or excited than normal.
#4. Can sugar cause Pile (Jedi-jedi)?
Pile or haemorrhoid also known as Jedi-jedi is popularly believed to be caused by eating sugar hence, people take herbs to flush out sugar from their system.
Contrary to public opinion, sugar does not cause Pile. People forget that sugar is naturally found in leaves and herbs used to make these concoctions.
Because it is bitter does not mean it does not contain high sugar.
You can find out more about Pile and sugar here.
#5. Does sugar affect the teeth?
The bacteria that are naturally found in our mouth digest sugar but they leave waste products that causes dental caries and tooth decay.
It is important to reduce sugar consumption as well as brush our teeth regularly with a fluoride toothpaste to support the enamel and reduce bacteria waste products in the mouth.
#6. Is brown sugar healthier than white sugar?
Irregardless of colour, sugar is digested in the same way.
There is no healthier alternative in sugar as they are all the same. What’s makes them different is the way they were produced.
#7. Are sweeteners better than sugar?
Edible products are often tagged sugar free, natural sugar or added sugar.
Natural sugar means the product itself has its own sugar, Added sugar means sugar was added to the product and both are usually labelled in grams or calories.
Sugar free means no sugar was added into a product however they contain alternate sweeteners claimed to have zero calories.
People who want to lose weight tend to go for sugar free products but studies reveal they do not actually support weight loss.
This begs the question, Is it not better to consume sugar which you know how your body digests it than to consume sweeteners whose mode of digestion is unknown?
#8. Is sugar addictive?
Although, food containing sugar gives a psychological effect of pleasure when eaten but it’s a normal reaction by the brain.
Pleasure and addiction are different from one another. Sugar is not deemed fit to be classified as an addictive substance.
#9. Is sugar responsible for menstrual pain?
No but there is a catch.
A chemical called prostaglandin produced by the cells lining the womb in the beginning of a menstrual period helps to make the muscle layer of the womb to contract which is the reason for pain.
The prostaglandin can escape into the blood stream causing headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Studies proves that the more you consume sugar, the more the level of prostaglandin increases hence, there will be more pain.
Sugar is often misunderstood but it is certain that high consumption is unhealthy.
Alternatives like honey and dates are healthy as they offer other nutritional benefits compared to plain sugar that gives only calories.
However, the body reacts to the form of sugar they contain just like it would with table sugar.
The recommended daily intake of sugar intake is less than 100 calories (6 teaspoons/24grams) for women and less than 150 calories (9 teaspoons/36grams) for men but it does not include natural sugar (fructose) as they are more healthy.
To sum it all up, sugar is best enjoyed to have a healthy life when it is consumed in moderation.
Grow your interest in checking the nutritional value of a product before you eat them in order to control your sugar intake.
Do you have questions on sugar you want to clarify? Use the comment section below.